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2023 Foreign Languages & Linguistics Degree Guide

There is roughly 311 different languages spoken in the United States alone, with more than 6,500 languages spoken in the world. Globalization and increasing communication with foreign countries has increased the need for bilingual speakers. By entering into the field of Foreign Languages and Linguistics, you will not only master a second language, you will become a more diverse and thoughtful person.

There are many different majors you can explore within this field. Some popular choices include African Languages, Germanic Languages, Romance Languages, Iranian and Persian, and American Sign Language.

While focusing on one of these majors, you will be instructed in the dialect, philology, literature, culture and history of the language. Some of the courses you will take include Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced Languages, European History, Literature, and Religion.

Foreign Languages & Linguistics Degrees Decreasing

#24 Most Popular Major
33.3k Degrees Awarded
-2.8% Increase in Graduates

In 2020-2021, foreign languages and linguistics was the 24th most popular major nationwide with 33,333 degrees awarded. This 935 less than the prior year, a decrease of 2.8%.

Our 2023 Best Foreign Languages & Linguistics Schools ranking analyzes 254 of these schools to determine the best overall colleges for foreign languages and linguistics students. Explore this or one of our many other custom foreign languages and linguistics rankings further below.

2023 Best Colleges for Foreign Languages & Linguistics
2023 Overall Best Foreign Languages & Linguistics Colleges >

Best Foreign Languages & Linguistics Schools by Degree

Associate Degrees in Foreign Languages & Linguistics
Bachelor's Degrees in Foreign Languages & Linguistics
Master's Degrees in Foreign Languages & Linguistics
Doctorate Degrees in Foreign Languages & Linguistics

What Are The Requirements For a Degree in Foreign Languages & Linguistics

While learning a new language it is necessary to have patience and perseverance. Some of these dialects are complicated and require practice and focus. It helps to have an ear for language and great attention to detail. To prepare for this field, students are advised to take prior courses in Foreign Language, History, Politics, and Religion. Take any advantage to study abroad while in college. This will give you invaluable, first-hand experience with the language and culture of a foreign country.

Prior Education for a Foreign Languages & Linguistics Program

A high school diploma or equivalent is typically required for most foreign languages and linguistics degree programs and many students will need a minimum GPA and SAT/ACT score depending on the school. Specific foreign languages and linguistics careers may require a certain level of degree attainment or additional certifications beyond that.

Types of Foreign Languages & Linguistics Degrees

There are various different levels of foreign languages and linguistics degrees. You can get anything from a in foreign languages and linguistics to the highest foreign languages and linguistics degree, a . Foreign Languages & Linguistics programs can take anywhere between one to four or more years for a full-time student to complete.

Degree Credit Requirements Typical Program Length
Associate Degree 60-70 credits 2 years
Bachelor’s Degree 120 credits 4 years
Master’s Degree 50-70 credits 1-3 years
Doctorate Program required coursework including thesis or dissertation At least 4 years

A bachelor's degree is the most common level of education achieved by those in careers related to foreign languages and linguistics, with approximately 37.7% of workers getting one. People currently working in careers related to foreign languages and linguistics tend obtained the following education levels.

Level of Education Percentage of Workers
Bachelor’s Degree 37.2%
Doctoral Degree 27.1%
Master’s Degree 25.4%
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate 4.2%
Post-Master’s Certificate 2.8%

Most workers in foreign languages and linguistics have at least a master's degree. See the chart below for the most common degree level workers in foreign languages and linguistics have received.


This of course varies depending on which foreign languages and linguistics career you choose.

Career Opportunities for Foreign Languages & Linguistics Majors

Above Average Number of Jobs
$31.2k Average Starting Salary
9% Growth Job Outlook 2016-26

A graduate with a degree in this field can enter into many different occupations. You would be well prepared to teach Foreign Language, English, History, or Literature in High School or teach a Foreign Language to adults. You could also continue your education in order to become a University Professor. If education does not interest you, you can work for the government in international relations or become a Foreign Service Officer. Other students may choose to become Anthropologists or Archeologists, Librarians or Museum Curators. Finally, another career choice is to become a translator or interpreter. Well-trained translators and interpreters are in high demand because of growing communication between nations.

Solid Growth Projected for Foreign Languages & Linguistics Careers

Want a job when you graduate with your foreign languages and linguistics degree? Foreign Languages & Linguistics careers are expected to grow 8.5% between 2016 and 2026.

The following options are some of the most in-demand careers related to foreign languages and linguistics.

Occupation Name Projected Jobs Expected Growth
High School Teachers 1,095,500 7.5%
Professors 258,700 9.4%
English Language and Literature Professors 92,900 9.8%
Interpreters and Translators 80,300 17.7%
Social Scientists 44,900 6.7%

How Much Money Do People With a Foreign Languages & Linguistics Degree Make?

Recently graduated foreign languages and linguistics students earned an average of $31,182 in 2019-2020. Earnings can range from as low as $10,968 to as high as $69,870. As you might expect, salaries for foreign languages and linguistics graduates vary depending on the level of education that was acquired.


High Paying Careers for Foreign Languages & Linguistics Majors

Salaries for foreign languages and linguistics graduates can vary widely by the occupation you choose as well. The following table shows the top highest paying careers foreign languages and linguistics grads often go into.

Occupation Name Median Average Salary
Social Scientists $85,750
Foreign Language and Literature Professors $79,160
English Language and Literature Professors $78,150
Professors $76,990
High School Teachers $64,340

Getting Your Foreign Languages & Linguistics Degree

With over 7,549 different foreign languages and linguistics degree programs to choose from, finding the best fit for you can be a challenge. Fortunately you have come to the right place. We have analyzed all of these schools to come up with hundreds of unbiased foreign languages and linguistics school rankings to help you with this.

Foreign Languages & Linguistics Majors to Study

Major Annual Graduates
Romance Languages 15,009
Linguistics & Comparative Literature 8,539
American Sign Language 2,724
East Asian Languages 2,293
Classical Languages & Literature 1,428

View All Foreign Languages & Linguistics Related Majors >

Related Major Annual Graduates
Liberal Arts / Sciences & Humanities 556,813
Visual & Performing Arts 149,215
English Language & Literature 54,635
Theology & Religious Vocations 27,459
Philosophy & Religious Studies 19,993

View All Foreign Languages & Linguistics Related Majors >


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